Today as we launch our fertility service and mobile app, which is now so intertwined with my wife’s and mine fertility journey, I thought it’d be appropriate to share my experience of the whole journey to start this company. After so many highs and lows, we’re absolutely thrilled to be finally “birthing” what now feels like our second child.
We started this project with the purpose to help modernize and update the outdated solutions to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM); a natural form of identifying fertile days and using that info to one’s advantage. My wife, Ana, used a thermometer that looked like the Engineering calculator from Texas Instruments I used in college, only it was harder to use, and if God forbid it ran out of battery, we would have to go back to using “goalies” until it learned to understand my wife’s cycles again. One day, she got so frustrated with the thing that she said: “I wish there were a smarter thermometer that could sync with my iPhone so I can stop using this thing!." At the time, I was doing my MBA at Babson College, and in the entrepreneurial spirit absorbed while studying there, I said: “Let’s do it”. Long story short, I researched the problem using the idea as the subject for my Extended Enterprise Management course final, found out what a huge problem it is, finished the MBA, raised initial funding and started this journey to help make a dent in the universe.
We set out to position Ovatemp as a very cool, natural fertility tracker that works both ways, contraception or pregnancy achievement. We intended to make this amazing fertility tracker and thermometer that would bring FAM to the 21st century. By then we were using the method to achieve pregnancy. Little did we know how hard both journeys would be: getting pregnant and starting this company.
When we started trying to conceive, we thought it would be a piece of cake. We’re making a fertility tracker, we should know how to get pregnant! After a few months went by with no pregnancy, we slowly began to realize that this was going to be harder than we thought. But we kept at it. Suddenly a year had passed by, we had built our tracker, with no baby to show. Then it happened. We got pregnant! However, Ana miscarried very early in our pregnancy leaving us feeling lower than we’d ever thought possible. Emotionally, it was a hard blow for both of us. To make things worse, our miscarriage coincided with a big pharma company basically giving us the finger and telling us not to bother them again with our idea. This was hard to overcome, but we kept at it. What was even more depressing was that now our app felt very incomplete and useless. Yes, it helps to time intercourse but that now seemed like a very incomplete view of the problem.
So back to square one. We were left with the same options as everyone else. Should we try one of the several Artificial Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) available? However, after now having done extensive research, we knew how invasive and taxing ARTs could be on my wife’s body, our relationship, and even our finances. We also knew that they fail 70% of the time. It’s not until the third IVF attempt that, in most cases, women are able to finally conceive.
Since we had time, we took a different approach. We began to find an alternative natural solution to bring our bodies back to balance and to improve our own fertility naturally. In this process, we were able to find a myriad of resources in books and websites with recommendations on improving our chances. Both Ana and I started acupuncture treatments. We started practicing Yoga together in the morning. We started meditating, eating according to our fertility profiles. I cut down on drinking (only drank wine or beer in moderate amounts), completely stopped dairy and coffee. Took our supplements. Ana stopped drinking entirely. With these changes, we saw much progress and Ana’s cycles became more and more regular. However, still no Baby. By May 2013, we finally gave in and decided to visit a Reproductive Endocrinologist. However, as it turned out, after a couple of tests, a little weight gain on Ana’s part and our renewed lifestyles, we got pregnant naturally! This time, it stuck. We had confirmation that our strategy worked. By changing our diet and lifestyle, and incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine and meditation techniques, you could improve your fertility.
Things with our company were also moving forward. We assembled an amazing Medical Advisory Board. We spoke to hundreds of women trying to understand how to help them achieve their dreams of pregnancy. We realized that the most common question we got was: What can I do? What can I do to improve my fertility? What can I do to feel empowered, and not feel alone and so out of control? Turns out there is a lot that women can do themselves. We needed to create a mobile application that not only helped women with timing intercourse, but also provided women with a set of customized fertility plans designed for their own fertility profiles. Because when you think about it, every women’s experience with infertility is unique. The turn of events that led women to their present infertility issues are also unique. Why should their solution to their problem be a one size fits all? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We now had a way with which to empower women.
Enter the Ovatemp fertility programs. We figured out we needed a way to categorize women according to their own fertile health issues. We developed an algorithm with the YinOva Center to categorize women according to a set of simple yes or no questions. We frankly couldn’t have made it simpler! Fully armed with our fertility programs, our app was complete. We could now actually help women with strategies that we know will work for them. Compared to other trackers, we wont’ just regurgitate data back to you. We will give you a simple set of exercises and lifestyle changes with the hopes of helping you reach optimum fertile health.
Three weeks after the birth of our baby boy we feel empowered to share Ovatemp, our other baby, with you. We have a chubby bundle of living proof that this works. We’re on a mission to help women improve and better understand their bodies. Hopefully you like our fertility tracker, and fertility programs powered by the YinOva Center. We think they will change your life for the better.